Difference between Manual and Automated Software Testing

January 20, 2017 by Editorial Team

Developing software entails a lot of testing in order to make sure that the final product is free of bugs. There are two ways to approach software testing. One is to test it manually and the other is through automated testing. The two methods serve the same purpose but are different in a lot of ways.


Manual vs Automated Software Testing
Software developers focused on testing their project.

Manual software testing is a way of checking software for any hidden bugs or defects. Software developers also utilize manual testing to test the software from the end user’s perspective. This is to make sure that the software is user-friendly and intuitive. There is usually a test script that programmers and developers follow in order to check the functionality of their project. Sometimes, however, software developers tend to deviate from the test script to thoroughly check for any bugs that may appear when users attempt to use the software outside of its intended purpose.

Testing the program manually has the advantage of being accurate. This is attributed to human judgment and intuition. Unfortunately, results may no longer be as accurate if the developer becomes bored or loses focus after hours of repetitively following the script.

Automated software testing
A software developer creating a script to automate tests.

Automated software testing is the utilization of special software to run tests for certain parts of a program. Software developers prefer this method for repetitive tests because it significantly shortens the time needed for completion. Contrary to what most might initially think, human input is required for automated testing. A programmer is responsible for creating a script for fast and precise automated testing.

Automated testing can handle large numbers of tasks within a short period of time. Unfortunately, one of its biggest downsides is that it is not ideal for testing software that is constantly being updated.

Manual vs Automated Software Testing

So what is the difference between manual and automated software testing? One notable difference between the two is that manual testing is always necessary for software development, whereas software can be completed even without automated testing.

Manual testing is best for testing parts of the program that require human judgment and intuition. Software that is constantly updated can be tested more accurately with manual testing. In contrast, automated testing is useful for testing large volumes of repetitive scripts on stable parts of a program because it is more efficient.

Comparison Chart

Manual Software TestingAutomated Software Testing
More preciseAccuracy depends on script quality
Time and cost efficient for smaller softwareCuts testing time for larger software
Ideal for constantly changing softwareBest used for stable parts of the software


The video below further explains key differences between the two testing methods.